For the great majority of people the world over daily life is a mystery. It abounds in an immense mass of riddles. But it is not the existence of these riddles alone which causes much torment and suffering; it is also the attempt of many people to provide solutions to these riddles, solutions which sometimes prove to be quite false. These false solutions have, in many cases, led people into ruin because they have, in good faith, adapted their lives to them and acted accordingly. Their daily behaviour has thereby become false. Indeeed, these people have simply become derailed, which here means that they behave in a way that, even if unconsciously, makes their daily life a greater or lesser state of suffering or an unhappy fate, according to the extent and nature of the derailment. This derailed or false behaviour of people becomes a evident through all the greater and smaller wars caused by their behaviour, between one man and another, and between nations and states. We have witnessed wars and revolutions with torture and death chambers, mutilations and executions without end, indeed, we have even witnessed the authorization of murder and killing in these cases. What does one think about the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where thousands of people were wiped out, not to mention all those who became life-long invalids, ruined and homeless? What does one think about all the many people born to parents in need amidst great squalor and primitivity, experiencing an unhappy or agonized fate until they die, while other people are born into opposite conditions, to parents who live in wealth, luxury and well-being? Why do some people have no place to lay their heads, and others own gigantic fortunes, indeed, are multi-millionaires? Why do people have to enlarge hospitals and build new ones despite the untiring work of doctors and of science to remedy the ocean of disease with which mankind is infected? Why then do the instances of disease not decrease? Why all these destructive, mutilative and deadly wars which torture and injure mankind, and turn life into an epoch of doomsday or Armageddon? It is not so surprising that life is a mystery for the people of this earth.
As to the mystery of daily life, the most fundamental quest in the existence of mankind is that for the solution of the mystery of life. In the very primitive or unintellectual stages of mankind this solution is no particular problem. These people's idea of life is still promoted almost exclusively by their instinct. The faculty of instinct constitutes an organic automatism through which the life of beings is promoted as long as they have not come so far in evolution as to have their faculty of intelligence developed, this faculty existing merely in a more or less latent state.
It is the faculty of instinct that one hundred per cent promotes the life of plants, just as it also, to a considerable extent, promotes the life of animals. It is also this faculty which promotes all the automatic functions in the organisms of living beings. And, as we mentioned previously, it is also that faculty which automatically promotes the religious sense of as yet unintellectual Man. This sense is the same as the faculty of temporarily feeling, through the unintellectual stages, that higher and mightier forms of life than those of terrestrial Man exist.
These higher forms of life or beings were believed to rule over the powers of nature and, in fact, over people too. While instinct could make them aware that higher forms of life or beings existed, it could not make them aware of what these higher beings looked like or what form their lives took. They could only perceive the forms of life of these higher beings as analagous with their own forms of life. They therefore conceived these beings in their own image. They assumed that these higher beings also lived among war and combat as human beings do. They assumed that there were evil and good beings among them as there are among human beings. And from this idea of the higher forms of life or beings stems the terms "gods" and "devils". The gods were the good beings and the devils were the evil beings whom one should fear since they were mightier than the human beings. It was therefore a matter of ingratiating oneself with the good beings, the gods. And this idea gave birth to the idea of, and attitude to, a "providence". This idea and this attitude became what we today call "the worship of God".
The idea of the Godhead became the underlying foundation for human beings' idea of morality. This morality in turn gave birth to the laws for their behaviour. Since this behaviour was based on the beings' idea of the Godhead, the same behaviour was bound to be more or less imperfect according as their idea of the Godhead was more or less imperfect. How could the idea of the Godhead be imperfect when it was born in the human being's mind automatically, of its instinct? All automatic functions born of the faculty of instinct in the beings' organisms, and in other circumstances, are normally infallibly in contact with reality. This is true, but we must here bear in mind that the faculty of instinct has not given birth to complete idea of God. It has given birth only to the being's feeling that a providence or a godhead exists, but absolutely not what this godhead looks like in detail or appearance. This aspect of the idea of the Godhead is created by the beings still very primitive, imperfect or unintellectual faculty of imagination, that is an ability whose results are neither intellectual nor intuitive. These imaginings about the Godhead, which the beings created by virtue of this ability, are thus unintellectual and therefore to a greater or lesser extent unreal.
The beings' idea of the Godhead and their ensuing morality and behaviour were thus based on more or less unreal or false imaginings in relation to the absolute real or cosmic truth or solution of the mystery of life. It lies entirely beyond what a human being, with his faculty to experience life borne merely by his instinct and imagination, can perceive and understand.
The beings' idea of morality was born of their inner idea of the existence of higher beings, "gods" and "devils". It is this instinctive idea of the existence of higher beings which we today call "religious belief". This religious belief is the guiding star of morality and behaviour of all peoples as long as they are quite unintellectual and have to base their lives on their faculties of instinct, gravity and imagination.
So we see that human beings, at the primitive or unintellectual stages in evolution, exactly like the animals, are guided by their instinct. There is only the difference that the animals are unconscious of this guidance. They are not guided by any religious belief. Their instinct guides them to do what is for them a vital necessity.
Human beings have, however, developed their faculty of thought so that they are able to form ideas about the life in which they live, even if these ideas, at the primitive stages, are quite unintellectual and thereby to a greater or lesser extent false. It is this fallacy which shows us the primitivity or unfinished state of their source. What is really true in the lives of these beings was thus only their instinctive idea of the presence of a higher power. What was more or less untrue was the ideas or descriptions, produced by the beings' unintellectual faculty of imagination of the appearance and daily lives of this higher power in the form of gods and devils. It was a matter of course that they could not conceive the daily lives of these gigantic beings as different from their own lives, apart from their appearing in a state which fulfilled all the dreams they dreamt but could not fulfil in their own lives.
Thus arose an ideal to which the human beings could adjust their lives. These ideals must of course be a glorification of the killing principle, since this principle is the ruling principle of life in the animal kingdom and likewise in that aspect of the mentality of the unfinished human being we call the "animal" in the human. We have a good example of this idealization by Man of the killing principle in our Nordic mythology, in which the highest ideal was to kill and to be killed. Otherwise one would not get to "Valhalla", the "paradise" of this mythology. People lived among war, theft, plundering, killing and oppression of one another; and the greater one's prowess in this direction, the greater the favour in which one was held by the gods. That this existence of killing had to give birth to a multitude of sufferings is a matter of course. As the sufferings give birth to the humane faculty in human beings, which in turn means the faculty of feeling sympathy or love, all these killings or this murderous behaviour came to offend against this new state of feeling in the beings. And they began to imagine new ideals which better suited their incipient faculty of sympathy or neighbourly love. These imaginings were formed in new laws for behaviour preached by world redeemers, and the so-called world religions arose.
Here in the West it was the Christian world religion which came to be the dominating one. In this world religion the ideal of love is nothing less than that one should love God above all things and one's neighbour as oneself. Furthermore it states that one should forgive one's neighbour not only seven times a day, but seventy times seven times a day. Whatsoever one would that others should do to one, one should first do towards them. "Put up again your sword into its place, for all they that take by the sword shall perish by the sword."
But are these ideals now strictly observed by the peoples of the West? Certainly not. As the observance of these ideals is the absolute condition for the creation of a real or absolute peace on earth where all war, massacre, theft, plundering and oppression, execution, hate and revenge are impossibilities, it is not so surprising that people, even though they call themselves "Christians", live among war, Armageddon and suffering.
Why do the followers of the Christian religion not fulfil the strongly prescribed ideals of their religion? How can it be that the so-called "Christian peoples" are up to now the cleverest warriors in the world? Why do they not love their neighbours as themselves? Why do they not do to other people what they would like to have done to them? Why do they not observe the command to put the sword in its sheath but, on the contrary, use not only the sword but furthermore have, by virtue of their mastery of atomic forces, multiplied millions upon millions of times their ability to kill, destroy and mutilate? Why are there always more and more empty seats during services in the Christian churches? Why are there more and more people who become materialistic or godless? Why do people not do everything possible to fulfil the Christian ideals through which they would attain that absolute peace which they in reality all wish? In order to understand this situation of Man we must go back and take a brief look at the mentality of those people to whom the Christian ideals were given.
What was the mentality of these people before they became subject to the preaching of the Christian ideals? It was of such a nature that it of course could not accept these highly elevated ideals to their full extent. By virtue of their religious instinct they were aware that beings higher than human beings existed, and they could likewise also accept that an almighty god existed. They could easily accept these things. Here their instinct helped them and promoted their unshakable belief in this one almighty god. And since they were tired of the killing religion of Valhalla they were also to a certain extent susceptible to the humanity or neighbourly love which the Christian ideals prescribed. But we have since seen that they were not at all able to fulfil these ideals. They could neither love their neighbours as themselves nor refrain from getting involved in war or from killing. And finally they lost faith in these ideals. Then they formed the idea that people could not fulfil these ideals. It was only the world redeemer, Christ, who could fulfil them. They then began to interpret or form these ideals in such a way as to make them better suit the behaviour they were able to achieve. They introduced the idea of the "forgiveness of sins" which they could obtain by virtue of the crucifixion of Jesus, imagining this as a punishment for the sins of man which the world redeemer, the innocent being, had taken upon himself. By praying for grace repentant people could then be freed from the effects of the evil they had committed.
That this modification of the Christian world ideals could not to any significant extent inspire people to get away from the killing ideals of the past is naturally a matter of course. So therefore in some situations they bless war and its murderous weapons and hellish machines. And the world today must live among the wars and massacres, and the religious chaos and godlessness of an Armageddon. But this is in reality nothing other than the fulfilment of the "epoch of doomsday" prophesied by Christ himself.
What is the meaning of this epoch of doomsday which the world has seen in the wars and revolutions of the twentieth century? What kind of horror was it that we saw during the Second World War's campaigns of conquest, concentration camps with their torture and gas chambers, starvation and other processes of culminating horror and racial persecution inflicted on defenceless people, children as well as adults, old as well as young? Was not this entire epoch of doomsday a total ignoring of cosmic, Christian ideals? Was it not a practising of a culminating breach of the same divine ideals? It was a world of culminating "anti-Christianity" which here in the twentieth century was revealed in the flesh for the people of the earth. It was a demonstration in matter, flesh and blood of what happens in a world of highly intelligent people who do not use their gifts to fulfil the Christian ideals as they were preached directly from the mouth of the world redeemer but, on the contrary, actually use their gifts to create a state of culminating breach of precisely these highest cosmic ideals of life. Without the observance of these ideals no being whatsoever can come to experience the absolute real life which is the same as the eternal peace and the ensuing happiness and bliss.
Why could Christian world ideals not have prevented Man from getting into this anti-Christianity, this state of doomsday or hell? They could not, and it is also evident that it has never been their purpose to prevent this, the epoch of doomsday or anti-Christianity of our century.
It is true that Christian ideals were given to people almost two thousand years ago, but just as the physical or material world cannot possibly be made fertile by sunshine alone, so the mental or spiritual continent of mankind can just as little be made fertile and living by mental or spiritual sunshine alone. Sunshine on its own turns continents into deserts. Just as the physical soil must be provided with nutrients and water in order, together with the warmth and light of the sun, to give life to a fertile plant, animal or human, so too must the mental or spiritual soil of mankind be equipped with water and nutrients together with mental or spiritual sunshine, that is the highest wisdom or cosmic science, in order to be able to unfold the totally perfect growth and vigour which constitute cosmic consciousness and turn its source into "Man in God's image after his likeness".
The mentality of Man cannot be changed by mere guidance. In order for guidance to have any meaning for a being's behaviour, that being must have previously undergone a certain amount of experience in the area concerned. And it is those questions which can arise in such a field of experience that the being can have answered through guidance. As regards being able to accept the world redeemer's high ideals of neighbourly love, mankind did not have the area of experiences which could make it totally susceptible to these ideals. And it is this area of experience mankind is undergoing through its sufferings, which have reached a culmination in the form of the epoch of doomsday. All the sufferings mankind has already gone through, and the sufferings still remaining for it to experience, will give birth in mankind to the faculty of humaneness which will make the ideals of Christ or the highest cosmic analyses of life of immediate importance.
In this, our little survey of the so-called "Christian world", we have seen that people more and more give up their affiliation to Christianity. But something similar is also taking place in the other world religions. As the faculty of intelligence is developed, the religious instinct of beings is correspondingly weakened. And with this weakening beings lose their ability to believe in the outdated religious ideals and become now more and more led by political ideals.
What does one then understand by "politics"? Politics is only a variation of the religious principle. This new offshoot of the religious principle is materialistic. It keeps mainly to ordinary physical ideals, the improvement of the forms of government and social conditions, the raising of culture and the creation of public assets, care for invalids and old people; it to a great extent promotes education and health services and many other cultural amenities and the like, as well as the police and judicial system and thereby law and order in the state or nation, as well as connections with other countries, export and import, the military, agreements and contracts. We see here that this variation of religiousness is much more active, even if it is more materialistic, than religion.
While religion is promoted more by instinct, politics is, on the contrary, promoted by intelligence. It is thus the faculty of intelligence which has created the new variation of religiousness. It had to be developed before the humane faculty could be developed since this could only be developed and grow, or be given birth to, by the experiences of suffering. But the fact that beings thus gained intelligence before they got any particular faculty of humaneness or neighbourly love had the effect that they became experts in the unfolding of darkness or the animal principle in such an excessive form that they came to appear as beings who were neither animals nor perfect human beings. We have here before us the beings with "devil-consciousness".
This devil-consciousness had in turn the effect that the strongest people could oppress the weakest. And life in reality became shaped by the principle of "the right of the stronger", even when a legal and judicial system was created. But, since the epoch of doomsday is thus a vital neccessity for beings' evolution towards becoming perfect beings of love, we see the emergence of a divine world plan. And the many social assests which politics has created, and of which it will continue to create more and more, are thus the incipient humane fruits of the horrors of doomsday.
We see that the politics of one country can no longer be isolated from those of other countries but becomes more and more tied together with the politics of these other countries. And politics thus becomes world politics. It is the effects of this world politics we see in the form of the United Nations Organisation and all the many political unions in the form of business, in the form of agreements about tourism, in the form of agreements about peace and many, many other forms of unions and cooperation. The world is already about to become a united nation in which all nations, the superpowers as well as the small nations, are provinces. The upheavals in Africa, Asia, China and so on are merely links in the creation of that balance into which all states must ultimately come in relation to one another.
That this cannot take place without war and suffering is due to beings' lack of humaneness. But it is precisely this they develop through their warlike attitude and lack of understanding and knowledge about the divine world plan. There is no reason for those people who will not make war to worry about their future in as far as they themselves live without murdering and killing animals and human beings. One must here remember that it is no vital necessity for man to kill animals in order to live.
We are thus witnessing the completion of a great divine plan for mankind. It is led gradually forwards towards an increasing evolution of humaneness or love which will turn the world into one state, one people, one nation. All of this will be such an extraordinarily great benefit to mankind that it will far exceed what it has the imagination to grasp today.
Every human being will be a joint-owner of the earth. No capitalists, no superiors and no subordinates, no businesses, no need for money. Everyone will be protected by everyone else; everyone will love everyone else. The basic tone of the universe, love, will have become the daily atmosphere of life in the world state. The working capacity of the human being will in the state of the future be the same as what a million in assets is today. But world politics will also promote material science, and humanity will promote spiritual science or cosmology so that material science and the science of intuition, the cosmic analyses, will be united in one great divine science, and the world state will be the new paradise on earth or the "kingdom of heaven". People will thus come to experience paradise even on the physical plane of existence. And the prodigal son will again be united with his father.
Original Danish title: "Verdensreligion og verdenspolitik" (from Book no.17) Translated by Mary McGovern, 1989.
© Martinus Institut 1981
Published with permission from Martinus Institute